Week 2: Aftermath of Week 1

kaephit

RIP Kaep … Ouch-town Population you, Bro! (Pepper Brooks)

What did we look like after Week 1 you ask? Taking a look at the money line Sports Gone HAM went a solid 11-5, but against the spread we were a truly disappointing 4-10-2 (pushes). We will get better on the spreads, but it is the first time we are trying and Week 1 saw some head-scratchers. Let’s get into week one and reflect on some injuries and Week 1 games during each match-up:

THURSDAY

Jets @ Patriots (-12.0) – Money Line: Patriots —- Spread: Jets (+12.0)

The Pats are hurting on offense and it showed last weekend. Stevan Ridley has struggled to hold onto the ball ever since the playoffs last season and now Shane Vereen, his talented backup, is out until at least Week 10. Danny Amendola is not expected to play and they are still missing Gronk. It looks like Thompkins and Edelman will be the one-two punch. The Jets pulled a win out of nowhere last Sunday as Geno Smith scrambled out of bounds and was inexplicably pushed out of bounds by Lavonte David. The Jets defense looked solid as usual last weekend, but the offense looked somewhat anemic in Smith’s first start. He did show some maturity throughout the game taking some sacks and not making horrible throws. I like their defense to keep this game somewhat close.

SUNDAY

Chargers @ Eagles (7.5) – Money Line: Eagles —- Spread: Eagles (-7.5)

The Chargers had an epic collapse with only twenty minutes to go in their Monday Night Football game against the Houston Texans. From what I saw in the first half, Philip Rivers looked pretty good and crisp after an off-season where his possible regression was called into question. The second half happened and it looked like the critics could be right, but only time will tell. The Eagles fumbled the ball on a questionable call their first drive, but dominated after that. They ran 53 plays in the first half with their new Oregon offense and looked sharp. They play fast because that’s what their top three guys have, speed and lots of it (Vick, Jackson and McCoy). Look for the Eagles to tire out the Chargers and coast in the second half.

Browns @ Ravens (-6.5)  – Money Line: Ravens —- Spread: Ravens (-6.5)

The Browns looked lost at home against the Dolphins. Besides Jordan Cameron, Trent Richardson is the best receiving option and he lines up in the backfield. The Ravens defense will be angry after being embarrassed, man-handled, torched and simply run off the field by the Broncos and Peyton’s seven touchdowns on Opening Night. The Ravens offense was average with a lack of talent in their receiving corps as well. Marlon Brown seems like he might make a nice addition in the slot, but Torrey Smith can’t man the outside by himself. This will be interesting and even though I think 6.5 is a lot of points, I still go Ravens at home.

Titans @ Texans (-9.0) – Money Line: Texans —- Spread: Texans (-9)

The Titans looked good, but that was against a really bad offense that calls its home Pittsburgh. That line is horrific and made the Titans defense look like … well the Steelers’ defense. Chris Johnson found some lanes against a stout run defense, but his sledding won’t get easier against the tough Texans defense. The Texans looked disastrous in the first half against the Chargers, but turned into the AFC South champs in the second half. Andre Johnson did his Andre Johnson thing and broke 100 yards as Matt Schaub abused him in the target area. Arian Foster looked a little rusty and Ben Tate looked poised to take over when he could. Gary Kubiak said they might need to split the carries more evenly if this keeps up. I still like Texans giving the 9.

Dolphins @ Colts (-3.0) – Money Line: Colts —- Spread: Colts (-3.0)

The Dolphins beat a bad looking Browns team while leaving their most talented player on offense out of the equation, which left him pretty upset with the coaching staff. Mike Wallace needs to be given the ball because he’s a play-maker, and if their run game can’t get going he has the talent to make something out of nothing. The Colts looked flat for some reason against a bad Oakland defense. The Colts line still isn’t the best and their run game is at the bottom of the pack. If Ahmad Bradshaw can’t overtake Vic Ballard, it could mean more passes for Andrew Luck each game. At home I like the Colts

Panthers (-3.0) @ Bills – Money Line: Bills —- Spread: Bills (+3.0)

The Panthers front seven looked great against a great run team in the Seahawks. However, that team had traveled from the other corner of the country and played at 1 P.M. and I don’t care who you are, that’s never easy. The Panthers offense looked horrendous against a great defense, so try and get a read on that one. The Bills looked pretty good against the Patriots and took them to the wire, but couldn’t finish the job. E.J. Manuel had a couple of nice throws, but his defense couldn’t hold up against Tom and the Pats beat-up offense. I like the Bills at home.

Rams @ Falcons (-7.0) – Money Line: Falcons —- Spread: Rams (+7.0)

The Rams came roaring back against the Cardinals and used “Legatron” to cap off the come from behind victory. Bradford looked better than the past few years behind a revamped offensive line featuring newly acquired Jake Long. He has explosive weapons all over the field, Richardson, Austin, Givens, and Cook and he seems to be hitting it off with all. The defense is underrated and can get in the backfield as well as force turnovers. The Falcons are coming off a heart-breaker against their arch-rival Saints. Their defense played better than anyone expected with Asante Samuel, but their offense looked nothing like last years with Roddy White being banged up. I want to pick the Falcons, but their defense and the speed around Bradford worry me.

Redskins @ Packers (-7.0) – Money Line: Packers —- Spread: Redskins (+7.0)

RGIII looked rusty, but then he settled in against the Eagles defense. Alfred Morris did not look like himself on a very costly fumble, and the defense was tired after the Eagles ran their up-tempo offense. The defense will need to shore up against Rodgers and the Pack to have a shot. The P ackers put up a good fight against the reigning NFC Champions, but simply couldn’t put a cap on the Kaep. Their secondary was lit up by the likes of Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis, which makes RGIII feel confident. The Pack tried to establish the run game while airing it out with Rodgers. They have a good fit in Lacy and he likes what he saw from McCoy’s performance on Monday night I’m Sure.

Cowboys @ Chiefs (-2.5) – Money Line: Cowboys —- Spread: Cowboys (+2.5)

The Cowboys defense looked great forcing 6 turnovers against the Giants, but the offense was unable to capitalize on each turnover as the Giants were on the verge of a comeback until the final turnover did them in. Tony Romo suffered bruise ribs after getting finally hit by the Giants defensive linemen. The Cowboys still looked like the better team on Sunday and could be a force with all their talent if they can get the offense really flowing. The Chiefs looked well-rounded, but that was against the lowly Jaguars. The defense forced turnovers and got into the backfield, which could help against the Cowboys O-Line. Their defense will need to perform up to better standards to stop the Cowboys offensive weapons. I like the ‘Boys here even with Dez Bryant injured.

Vikings @ Bears (-6.0) – Money Line: Bears —- Spread: Bears (-6.0)

The Vikings pass game is going to be a problem for a while unless someone can teach Christian Ponder how to be an NFL quarterback. As was the case last year, Adrian Peterson will face a lot of “full box” situations because most teams want leave the game in Ponder’s hands. The Vikings corners looked good last week shutting down Calvin Johnson, but the whole defense was embarassed by probably the most dangerous open field player in the NFL in Reggie Bush. The Bears withstood a tough test from the Bengals last week and somehow Jay Cutler did not take a sack. Brandon Marshall and Cutler are on a whole other level right now. Their defense isn’t the same without Urlacher and Tillman was abused by AJ Green, but the Vikes don’t have that type of outside weapon so Bears here.

Saints (-3.5) @ Buccaneers – Money Line: Saints —- Spread: Saints (-3.5)

The Saints defense stopped the Falcons. Say what? The Saints offense looked pretty good with Sean Payton back, but they can definitely do more. Just wait till they hit their stride, but their defense will leak and won’t hold teams to 17 very often to be honest. The Bucs lost in shocking fashion. Their defense looked good with the addition of Revis, but the offense looked lost. Josh Freeman is in a make or break year, his contract year, and he has weapons that most quarterbacks would thrive with. They need to fix his focus otherwise it’ll be another long season to the team with pewter helmets. Saints here.

Lions (-1.0) @ Cardinals – Money Line: Cardinals —- Spread: Cardinals (1.0)

The Lions newest offensive toy looked fantastic against the Vikings; however, they can’t rely on Reggie Bush to beat better teams like the Arizona Cardinals. Calvin Johnson will needed to produce more than 4 catches for the Lions to keep winning games. Suh made another stupid mistake that cost him a ton of money. The Cardinals looked good throughout the game against a good Rams defense and Carson Palmer seems to fit Bruce Arians’ offensive scheme. Their defense looked solid as well and they have talent that’ll surprise most. I think at home the Cardinals will take this one.

Jaguars @ Raiders (-6.0) – Money Line: Raiders —- Spread: Jaguars (+6.0)

The Jaguars looked historically bad. Gabbert is out (apparently with an injury) and Henne is in. Henne produced decent numbers last year while filling in for Gabbert. I like Maurice Jones-Drew this week against a bad Raiders defense, but it’s hard to expect much from the Jags’ offense. The Raiders looked surprisingly decent against the Colts in Indy on Sunday. Until the final drive where they turned the ball over, the Raiders looked serviceable. I like the Raiders here because of the elusiveness of Terrelle Pryor, but with Henne under center I don’t like them by more than 6, but I might change my take on this game.

Broncos (-5.0) @ Giants – Money Line: Giants —- Money Line: Giants (+5.0)

The Broncos looked scary on Opening Night as Peyton tossed seven touchdowns at Mile High. Their defense, even without Von Miller and Champ Bailey looked pretty solid against the defending champs. I am worried about what the Broncos are capable of this year in a division with zero defense. The Patriots record of points scored and Tom Brady’s touchdown record have been warned. The G-Men. Where to start? Six turnovers doomed the Giants on Sunday night and no team could recover from that. Except, the Giants almost had the game won before the last turnover. The defense looked good and held Dez Bryant to two catches. If David Wilson can fix himself and the line can protect Eli, the Giants could surprise people here with a win against Big Brother. These are the games the Giants always step up and win.

49ers @ Seahawks (-3.0) – Money Line: Seahawks —- Money Line: Seahawks (-3.0)

Could be one of the games of the year. The 49ers took down the Packers using Anquan Boldin last week at Candlestick. Kaepernick proved yet again he can toss the ball around with the best of them. The Niners defense, even giving up 28 points still looked like a bunch of studs. The Seahawks looked jet-lagged in Carolina and eeked out a 12-7 win. These are probably the two best teams in the NFL and they play in the same division. I can’t wait to sit down and watch this outright brawl as this rivalry has become grounded in their hatred and their physical play. I like the Seahawks at home. Remember last year’s game?

MONDAY

Steelers @ Bengals (-7.0) – Money Line: Bengals —- Money Line: Bengals (-7.0)

The Steelers’ offense looked as bad as the Jaguars’ did. Big Ben can’t stand in the pocket for more than four seconds and his receivers, maybe excluding Antonio Brown, are a bunch of B-listers and below. He will continue to struggle without his safety blanket in Heath Miller. The defense looked more fresh against the bad Titans’ offense, but they will truly be tested against a young Bengals offense. The Bengals lost a heart-breaker to the Bears last weekend in Soldier Field. The defense wasn’t able to get to Jay Cutler which is puzzling considering the front seven this team has. The defense and the offense are both solid units making this Bengals team my favorite to still take home the AFC North. This will be a physical game, but I like the Bengals even with the big spread.

siren

UPSET SPECIAL

My Upset Alerts for this week fall on the BroncosLions , Chiefs, Falcons and Panthers. All of these teams are favorites, three of which are on the road. Keep an eye on these games ladies and ‘gents.

tom-hanks-in-cast-away

SURVIVOR POOL

So last week I actually took the Colts and survived by the hairs on my chin (there are none right now). For this week the teams I like, depending on who you have chosen are:

  • PATRIOTS
  • RAVENS
  • COLTS
  • TEXANS
  • EAGLES

Good luck this week to all!

Advertisements

Week 1: Here We Go … Football!!! And It’s on Your Phone!

We are back … with a little bit of a change this year. This year I will be picking money line wins as well as picking with the spreads according to ESPN.com and see how good we really are here at Sports Gone HAM. The NFL off-season was torturous and filled with headlines, many for the wrong reasons, I’m looking at you Aaron Hernandez. We enjoyed a great season last season so let’s all hope for a continuation of last year’s success.

nfl-fan-map-Logo

THURSDAY

Broncos @ Ravens –  Money Line: Broncos  Spread: Ravens (+7.5)

Look for the revenge factor to kick in. Both defenses have huge changes with no Von Miller, Elvis Dumervil and Champ Bailey for the Broncos; while the Ravens have lost Danell Ellerbe, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. Peyton Manning has a new play toy in Wes Welker and it’ll only help.

SUNDAY

Patriots @ Bills – Money Line: Patriots — Spread: Patriots (-11.0)

EJ Manuel gets his first NFL start against a defense that would let up a ton of points to a veteran quarterback, but he’s banged up and will have to try and keep up with Tom Brady. Brady’s offense is completely revamped and even the parts that aren’t (Gronk) are banged up. Look for Brady to put up pre-Moss and Welker numbers this year at least until Gronk is 100%. The Bills could make a playoff run in a weak AFC East if Manuel plays like last year’s rookies and Spiller emerges as a top 5 running back. Pats easy here.

Bengals @ Bears – Money Line: Bears —- Spread: Bengals (-3.0)

Toss-Up! I will be picking the Bengals to win the AFC North. There is a lot of talent on this team, but it will all rest on Andy Dalton’s shoulders (see Joe Flacco). The defense is star-studded and have added a true leader and enforce in James Harrison. The Bears lost their true leader on defense in Brian Urlacher, but gained something on offense in Martellus Bennett. The Bears also have a new head coach, whom is offensive minded in Marc Trestman and their fate will rely on whichever Jay Cutler appears every game.

Dolphins @ Browns – Money Line: Browns —- Spread: Browns (-1.0)

I think the Browns are going to be competitive this year and one reason is their defense. Their defense has become much improved and they also have a new head coach. Their most talented receiver is suspended for the first two games, but Jordan Cameron is coming on like a freight train right now and if Weeden can put it where these two guys can catch it, they could surprise some people. Let’s not forget Trent Richardson who runs harder than most. The Dolphins could also be sneaky good with the acquisition of Mike Wallace as long as he runs his routes and builds a rapport with Tannehill. If Tannehill comes along as many say he appears to be the Dolphins could finish second in the AFC East.

Raiders @ Colts – Money Line: Colts —- Spread: Colts (-10.5)

Andrew Luck is going to have a big year and now he has a real running back in Ahmad Bradshaw, assuming he stays healthy. On the other side we have the Raiders, yikes. Most people can’t name anyone besides Darren McFadden on the Raiders and that never spells well for a team. Terrelle Pryor will the start over weak-armed Matt Flynn, but he has almost no weapons in this offense. The Raiders seam to be on board the “Clowney Train”.

Vikings @ Lions – Money Line: Lions —- Spread: Vikings (+5.0)

Overachievers of 2013 vs. Underachievers of 2013. The Vikings will go as “All-Day Peterson” goes. If he can reach anywhere near his production level last year, Christian Ponder and his revamped receiving corps (looks good too) will have an easier time keeping up with teams. The Lions were the biggest disappointment of last season with the talent on their team. One of the most fierce front four will hound quarterbacks again this season, but the secondary is questionable. If Stafford can stay healthy he has a new toy in Reggie Bush who is still as dangerous as anyone in the open field.

Falcons @ Saints – Money Line: Saints—- Spread: Falcons (+3.0)

Sean Payton is back and I think he should have gotten a few votes for Coach of the Year last year. This offense will be running on all cylinders with him back and a healthy Jimmy Graham. However they still look awful on defense and that doesn’t bode well against a team that has added Steven Jackson to it now. Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez and now Steven Jackson, good luck Rob Ryan. No Asante Samuel and a banged up Roddy … that spells trouble trying to keep up with the Saints offense.

Buccaneers @ Jets – Money Line: Buccaneers —- Spread: Buccaneers (-3.5)

The Bucs didn’t add much on offense and their tight end position is ugly, but they have talent with Freeman, Jackson, Williams and Dougie. Their defense just snagged the Jets best defensive player through trade and are easily the best in their division and will be a solid squad. The Jets are a mess and Geno Smith will draw the start with little talent around him behind the same offensive line, probably worst, than Mark Sanchez was ducking behind last year. Rex Ryan’s last year how will they do. Everyone says they’re aboard the “Clowney Train”.

Titans @ Steelers – Money Line: Steelers —- Spread: Titans (+7.5)

To me the only thing that can save the Steelers this year is their defense, which has only gotten older. They drafted Le’veon Bell to keep their running game moving and keep that run first mentality going, but he is injured and that will rest on the backup Isaac Redman for now. Big Ben lost his favorite receiver in Mike Wallace and Heath Miller is also injured. The Titans are another team possibly boarding that “Clowney Train”. Chris Johnson has an improved line to run behind now, that could be dangerous for the rest of the league, but Jake Locker needs to take a step forward this year.

Seahawks @ Panthers – Money Line: Seahawks —- Spread: Seahawks (-3.5)

The Seahawks have talent all around on both sides even after Percy Harvin went down with a serious hip injury. Lots of experts are expecting big things from Russell Wilson this year after he shocked the world with his performance last season. Cam Newton took a step back last season with a ton of mistakes, but it appears they are trying to line him up under center much more this season, meaning we will get to see how much of a pure passer he really is. Jonathan Stewart is on the PUP list, which only hurts the offense, but the young linebacker core hopes to carry this defense.

Chiefs @ Jaguars – Money Line: Chiefs —- Spread: Jaguars (+4.0)

Andy Reid has a new job in Kansas City and so does Alex Smith. The only talent around him is Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe, but if you look at Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy careers, Jamaal Charles could be in for a big year under Andy Reid. The defense might be at the middle of the pack at best. The Jaguars have some talent, just not at the most important position, quarterback. Gabbert is hurt even though he was named the starter and now Chad Henne will be put into action. The defense won’t look much better than the offense, but MJD has carried the load before.

Cardinals @ Rams – Money Line: Rams —- Spread: Cardinals (+4.5)

Both of the teams are sleepers for the NFC Playoffs, the only problem is the division they play in. Bruce Arians has taken over in the desert and has a quarterback who can throw it around the yard in Carson Palmer who had over 4,000 yards last year with the Raiders. Rashard Mendenhall has been added, but they pray he can stay healthy to put a little balance in Arians’ typically unbalanced offense. The Rams have talent everywhere and are sneaky good as long as Sam Bradford can stay healthy and Daryl Richardson can replace Steven Jackson to a certain extent.

Packers @ 49ers – Money Line: 49ers —- Spread: 49ers (-4.5)

Rematch of last season’s eye opener and then the playoff eye opener. The Packers defense didn’t get any better and their offensive line got worse because of injuries. Aaron Rodgers lost Greg Jennings, but gained Eddie Lacy, but sans the Giants the run game never worked against the 49ers last season. The Niners lost Michael Crabtree, but with a full offseason under his belt Colin Kaepernick could be improved. The Niners acquired an aging Anquan Boldin, but the rapport with Vernon Davis is apparently getting better.

Giants @ Cowboys – Money Line: Giants —- Spread: Giants (+3.0)

The Giants are 4-0 in Cowboy Stadium and I hate picking against Big Blue. The line is banged up and as usual so is the defense. David Wilson is receiving a lot of pressure without Andre Brown and Eli will have it all on his shoulders again. Tony Romo has the same talent around him on offense but maybe a healthy DeMarco Murray. It will ride on Tony Romo’s mistakes and how he lives up to his new big contract. He always seems to make the mistakes when most important and the Giants have the ‘Boys number right now.

MONDAY

Eagles @ Redskins – Money Line: Redskins —- Spread: Eagles (+3.0)

Vick vs RGIII. This will be exciting as hell with two meddling defenses and the implementation of a new system in Philly. Chip Kelly is here with his Oregon system, but without the Eagles best receiver it’ll be a tough go this year. RGIII is coming off an ACL Tear and Ron Jaworski has said he doesn’t look the same when stepping up and throwing. This is the biggest tough up of the week.

Texans @ Chargers – Money Line: Texans —- Spread: Texans (+3.5)

The Texans keep looking like the best team in the regular season and then getting kicked out of the playoffs while looking like a team that doesn’t belong. Arian Foster is healthy and Ben Tate seems appear to have a breakout season. The defense might be improved with the addition of Ed Reed if he can get healthy along with Brian Cushing. The Chargers are a mess. Rivers looks like his arm is depleted and their run game is confusing. Their defense might be able to keep them in some games, but their weapons on offense don’t instill any fear.

siren

UPSET ALERT 

I am putting the Broncos on Upset Alert … Deja Vu?? The Cowboys, the Bears and the Saints have also been warned.

tom-hanks-in-cast-away

SURVIVOR POOL PICK

This weeks top 3 picks are: Patriots, Colts and Texans.

Check back for this week’s recap!

Aaron Hernandez: Former NFL tight end, PCP addict, Murderer, and the boy who cried wolf.

In the recent Rolling Stone article, Bill Solotariff points out that Aaron Hernandez was a heavy angel dust user over the past year.  Hernandez may have been the best ‘fantasy’ tight end but at the end of all this lies a bigger issue, college football coaches protecting their most talented players from crime while leaving them uneducated and uncontrolled.  All superior athletes growing up in current day America get their ego’s “pumped up” on the regular, whether it’s 8 year old Johnnie kicking a field goal or 17 year old Darrell clobbering the freshmen quarterback; athletes are being taught that if they perform on the field that everything off the field will be taken care of and that’s not reality.  The athlete of the next generations needs to learn how to grow up in reality because I believe that right now there are too many coaches and institutions that worry too much about the dollar signs and fame that they receive from guarding the egos of their star players.

The boy who cried wolf is a simple lesson that I believe  youth football coaches need to take into account when they are dealing with their star players specifically regarding education.  You cannot just go through the education system and completely ignore the education you are being provided. This means you have someone ignoring the educational institution that provides a guideline for a successful life and that pays your coaches’ salaries.  These players who are crying wolf need to see that when they are face to face with the wolf they could yell and scream until they took their last gasp of air but no one will come save them.

PED Use Not Only a Problem in Major League Baseball but in The NFL Too

Image

In the wake of the Alex Rodriguez PED circus I thought that it would be relevant to discuss the NFL players that have been suspended for parts of the 2013-2014 NFL regular season.  Now understand that the MLB and NFL do have separate rules regarding PED’s but what it boils to is players trying to gain an edge over their opponents no matter the sport.

Jo-Lonn Dunbar – Linebacker- St. Louis Rams – 4 Games

Image

A Boston College graduate that was part of the New Orleans Saints 2009 Super Bowl Champion team.  Dunbar was pegged to be the starting middle linebacker for the St. Louis Rams week one but his four game suspensions handed down from the league for PED use will put that on hold until week 5.  St. Louis’s defense is good but no team can afford to lose a guy who they are depending on to be a starter and I believe that the Rams will suffer from his lose.

Asa Jackson – Cornerback – Baltimore Ravens – 8 Games

Image

Jackson was an unknown on the Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl Champion team of 2012 and maybe the departure of a lot of defensive veterans pressure him to up his performance and take PED’s.  Truthfully I cannot tell you why Jackson took PED’s but what I can tell you is that he won’t be receiving a paycheck for eight weeks.  This is Jackson’s second violation of the NFL’s PED policy as he also tested positive for Adderall in 2012 serving a four game suspension.  When will Jackson get the message?

Bruce Irvin – Outside Linebacker – Seattle Seahawks – 4 Games

 Image

Irvin is the best player on this list and the Seahawks are going to suffer from him not playing the first four games of the 2013 season.  Irvin is coming off his rookie season where he recorded 8 sacks and going into this year Pete Carroll was looking for Irvin to be the number one pass rusher on the Seattle front line.  Unfortunately that will have to wait until after the Seahawks week four matchup against the Texans to get on the field.

DeMarcus Love – Left Tackle – Minnesota Vikings – 4 Games

 Image

The most Love has done in his career that is relevant to anyone is he protected Ryan Mallet’s blind side at Arkansas.  Love’s professional career has not gone well after being drafted by the Vikings in the 6th round of the 2011 draft.  He was inactive for the entire 2011 season and in 2012 Minnesota took Matt Kalil with their first pick in the 2012 draft and has not only taken Love’s position at left tackle but also gave Kahlil his number 75.  Don’t think the absence of Love is going to hurt the Vikings performance in the first four games.

Will Hill – Safety – New York Giants – Four Games

 Image

Mr. Hill is also a second offender of the NFL’s and got off a little easier than Asa Jackson who I spoke about earlier.  Hill didn’t receive a greater punishment from the NFL this time because he violated a different violation of the leagues PED policy (whoopie!!!).  Last season Hill tested positive for Adderall and was suspended four games.  This time around it was a different drug that has not been named by the media or NFL yet but some speculate it is Marijuana.  Hill was looking to be in the dime packages for the Giants but now has to deal with this suspension.

Weslye Saunders – Tight End – Indianapolis Colts – 8 Games

 Image

Weslye (no that is not a typo) is another second time offender of the NFL PED policy and he is not getting off as easy as Will Hill.  Saunders is being hit with an 8 game suspension for his second positive test of a drug that has yet to be disclosed but is definitely on the list of drugs that the NFL does not allow.  In 2012 as part of the Pittsburgh Steelers was suspended four games for using Adderall and following the newest 8 game suspension for Saunders he was cut by the Indianapolis Colts.  Struggling there buddy, try and work a little harder and maybe you’ll make a team.

Gabe Miller – Tight End – Chicago Bears – 4 Games

 Image

Miller was recently signed by the Chicago Bears off of their practice squad to fill the hole left at third tight end spot on the depth chart.  The drug Miller was using to violate the NFL PED policy is unknown but if he’s taking it and he’s only on the practice squad than I would suggest pursuing a career in another field.  Miller is probably the most irrelevant guy on this list right in front of DeMarcus Love.

That rounds out the list for now but I am sure that I will be adding names to this list as the season goes on.  Von Miller is waiting to hear from the league about his appeal of his suspension for drug use in the coming weeks.

32yx6 (1)

Back in the Groove

There hasn’t been a SportsGoneHam post since the end of the NFL Season, but now that has changed. We will get back into the swing of things ladies and gents. When we post and we will post more often, we will touch upon the most talked about topics of late in the sports world. You will laugh, you won’t cry, you will share, and most of all you will enjoy!

MADNESS

I give up on brackets. WHO CAN PREDICT ANYTHING ANYMORE? A 15 has finally made it to the Sweet 16, but let me tell you for sure that no seed lower than a 10 has ever won the National Championship (You’re welcome, Nick). However, this year somebody has busted a bracket (and again). I picked St. Louis banking on an emotional ride to the finals, but they ran into a pissed off Oregon team who was disrespected more than any team I’ve ever seen when they were given a 12 seed, well thanks a lot Committee! I think the Louisville Cardinals will win this whole thing now, unless Oregon just runs train on them too, then I just quit. La Salle and Florida Gulf Coast, or Dunk City, are “Cinderellas” that we can all not ignore. La Salle has two really good guards and can play close games as they’ve shown twice now, and FGCU is ready to run with the big boys. Sherwood Brown is channeling his inner Kenneth Fareid, more scoring but less rebounding, in order to lead his team to the promised land. When you know there will be upsets, but you pick the wrong ones:

image

THE HEAT ARE ON FIRE?

As everyone, and probably their mothers know by know, the Heat have won 27 straight games. It’s all Mothership ESPN talks about on a daily basis, while they ignored the Denver Nuggets “modest” 15 game win streak out West. They haven’t lost a game since February 3, which means this streak is on the verge of spanning 2 months.  The past two games the Heat have been without Dwayne Wade, without whom over the past three years the Heat possess over a .700 winning percentage, kind of nuts when you think about it. Over these 27 games the Heat are shooting a ridiculous 51% from the field and outscoring their opponents by double digits. I don’t know if they’ll get to the fabled 33 games of those ’71-’72 Los Angeles Lakers, but they will certainly get close. I heard today about the talk of them being the greatest team ever if they break the streak and it’s simple, they aren’t the greatest team ever, period. Will they be up there in the talks if they break it of course, but they need at least one more ring to even be considered for that top spot.

Whattup Playboi??

Whattup Playboi??

NFL FREE AGENCY

Many guys found the market unfriendly to them, including defensive ends and defensive backs who could not find the money they were looking for. The Quarterback market, free agency or trades did not develop the way most had hoped besides Alex Smith being traded to the Chiefs so that Andy Reid would have a competent signal-caller as he took over the reigns of 2012’s worst team. The worst move in my opinion of this Free Agency Class was Joe Flacco’s contract because the other players on the Ravens saw this contract that Flacco was given and thought “hey, why can’t I get PAID too?” Boldin was traded for scraps, Ellerbe left, Ed Reed defected from the only team he’s ever known, and Paul Kruger left for the Cleveland Browns (ironically the team the Ravens used to be.) So way to go Joe! But talking about playing contract roulette by not signing the extension before last season huh? Big splashes were made by the Dolphins, Chiefs, Broncos, and Seahawks, while some have said the Giants have done well keeping their guys and adding depth. Head-scratchers are most certainly the Jets and the Cardinals, you think they’d re-watch their own debacle of a game to look at what they needed to add, but instead both teams didn’t make any moves in free agency. the Jets had an excuse in their little cap room, but the Cardinals have no excuse for their only splash being Rashard Mendenhall.

NHL QUICK HITS

The creme de la creme are the Blackhawks (who recorded at least one point in 24 straight games to start the season), the Penguins (who have a 12 game win streak of their own right now), and the Ducks who have been quietly the second best team in the West this season. Surprises include the Canadiens, the Jets, the Maple Leafs, and the injury riddled Senators who are without two of their best players, but still find themselves sitting in the middle of the playoff picture. The shortened season has provided for excitement, but desperation for many teams including the Rangers, the Flyers, the Caps, the Coyotes, the Sharks and the Preds. Many would say the Blackhawks made more people care “aboot” Hockey again, but it never left this blogger’s heart. I mean an eight seed winning the championship last year in dominating fashion was exciting for all, eh? Moral of the story watch some hockey and it won’t disappoint!

MLB OPENING

The Yanks are more banged up than bumper cars, the Blue Jays made some eye-opening moves this offseason, and the two Los Angeles teams look like well, Los Angeles teams with all-stars and big names ready to shine. The fact of the matter is, the baseball season is still too long and tenuous for most to keep track of day in and day out. This is why I will most likely opt to remain out of Fantasy Baseball this year. I will keep an eye on my Yankees and watch their games, but remember season’s aren’t decided in April or May, but in August-September. There will be a plethora of baseball stories as the season goes, which will most certainly include instant replay, PEDs, division races, trade rumors and much more. Tune in!

The OTHERS

  • Tiger Woods has regained the No. 1 ranking after his win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, let’s see how long he can keep it and if he can win another title, we know ESPN will be all over that in 2013.
  • The USA seems to be struggling in the “football” front as Klinsmann and the boys can’t seem to play good enough defense to keep teams away from Tim Howard. The USA needs to make the World Cup if Klinsmann wants to keep his job, the problem is the countries around us are getting better.
  • NASCAR has brought back the stock car in their name rather then a drag racing car with a lip on it. It has already provided some excitement on the track and maybe it’ll keep up for this long haul of a season.

Those are my two cents … cash em in!

Anthony

(Please let me know if there’s any sports you want me to blog about and give my take on!)

Week 13: No Mo No Shave!

Men’s favorite month and women’s least favorite month has come to an end and it’s time to get rid of those furry things on your face gentleman. The playoffs are coming in the NFL quickly and this season has definitely flown by. We come into this week after a 10-6 showing last week. Definitely not the best we’ve had, but the double digit wins won’t stop rolling in.

Here we go ....

Here we go ….

THURSDAY

SAINTS @ Falcons – The Saints need this game to stay alive, but the Falcons might need this game for the respect and to show that they have gotten over that divisional hump that has haunted them since Drew Brees arrived in the NFC South. The last game was a nail-biter and a eye catcher for the NFL and I don’t expect any less from this one. The Saints will win because they need it to stay alive, but I am honestly not sure about this because the Falcons play so much better at home.

SUNDAY

Jaguars @ BILLS – It’s one thing to beat a bad Titans team at home, but it’s another thing to go to freezing cold Buffalo and beat a bad Bills team. The Bills looked flat against the Colts defense and the Jaguars looked like a decent team against the lowly Titans. Chad Henne has sparked some life into Mike Mularkey’s team, but now with both of the Bills running backs healthy, there’s no reason to believe they won’t be able to handle the Jags at home.

Seahawks @ BEARS – The Seahawks are a different team at home than they are away. I think they can pull the upset here because of their defense and how banged up the Bears offensive line is, but Russell Wilson cannot turn the ball over, which is nearly impossible to do against this Bears defense. However, Colin Kaepernick did it and he is mobile and elusive, just like Wilson is so who knows. Brandon Marshall has been targeted 121 times by Jay Cutler, you think they have a nice connection?

Colts @ LIONS – Another team that plays completely different at home compared to away from home. Andrew Luck and the Colts are bipolar and cannot seem to find grounding away from home with a 2-3 record and a 5-1 record at home. However, Andrew Luck has been an outstanding rookie this year. On the other side of the ball the Lions have not performed up to the expectations placed upon them this year. I see the Colts away woes to continue as the Lions offensive fire power will be too much to handle and the Lions vicious defensive line will be at Andrew Luck.

Vikings @ PACKERS – The Packers got rolled by the Giants at MetLife Stadium Sunday night. They might have been better off not showing up. They have key injuries on defense and some on offense, but it’s no excuse to play so poorly and they know that. They will definitely be a different team this Sunday against their division rivals from Minnesota. Adrian Peterson still had a great game even after fumbling the ball twice to the Bears. This game is always a hard-fought win for whomever comes out on top, but I fully expect the “Cheeseheads” to take a few Lambeau leaps this Sunday.

TEXANS @ Titans – Some of the experts have been saying that the Texans have been walking a fine line, and they have been and that’s the reason I picked them to lose last week. However, when you are gifted a game like they were like last week I don’t see this team taking anything for granted this weekend. The Titans are also not as talented as the Detroit Lions. The Titans are coming off a bad BAD loss to the Jaguars and things can’t get worse, so why can’t they win?

Panthers @ CHIEFS – Two days ago I would’ve picked the Panthers hands down with the way this Chiefs team is playing. After the sad passing of Javon Belcher I cannot pick against the emotional team here. This Chiefs team is not better than their opponent, but emotion wins in any fight. The Panthers allowed Bryce Brown and the Nick Foles led Eagles to stay in a game they should have handled with ease on Monday Night last week. I think the Chiefs will be ready to play Sunday for their “brother”.

49ERS @ Rams – Man I hope this game doesn’t end in a tie. Colin Kaepernick has been exciting to watch, but now Alex Smith has been benched for playing the way Jim Harbaugh has asked him to and because he got a concussion. Seriously? They are winning their games, not that they weren’t before. The Rams #1 option will not be playing as he is hurt again, that is Danny Amendola. This just makes the sledding that much tougher for the Rams, but I can see this being a close game again as long as Bradford keeps the ball out of the 49ers’ defense hands.

PATRIOTS @ Dolphins – The Pats have blown up scoreboards the past two weeks and I have no doubt it won’t stop this week in warm Miami. The Patriots defense is forcing turnovers, which they’ve been known to do over the year and will definitely continue Sunday against rookie Ryan Tannehill. This Dolphins team has been scrappy all year long, but it’s time for the Pats to put a stake through their season. The addition of Aqib Talib has already helped the Patriots secondary.

Eerie isn't it?

Eerie isn’t it?

Cardinals @ JETS – I want to pick the Cardinals, but I don’t know which one of their quarterbacks is actually going to get playing time in this game. As one of my friends told me, when the Jets win, they win handily. If Ryan Lindley starts the Jets win in a blowout, but if anyone else starts it’ll be a harder win for the Jets, who have had more media attention for the past few years than any other underachieving team. Tim Tebow will not be dressed, but Greg McElroy finally will be. Why not give the Alabama champion a shot?

Buccaneers @ BRONCOS – Tough loss for the Bucs against the Falcons last week. They should have won that game plain and simple, as many teams should have against the Falcons. Josh Freeman didn’t throw a touchdown pass last week, but his offense still put up a ton of yards. The Broncos are coming off a disappointing lackluster performance in Kansas City. Even though they won the game, it looked like the worst complete game for Peyton Manning this year. Knowshon Moreno has emerged as the new starter since Willis McGahee’s injury, surprising a lot of people by leaping up the depth chart.

Cleveland @ RAIDERS – Two bad teams at 3-8 and I’m going with the home team. The Browns have been in every game they’ve played and just beat the Roethlisberger-less Steelers. So, this is now a let down game in a place that many teams find it tough to win, the Black Hole. The Raiders are struggling all around on defense and Carson Palmer has to force everything to try and get his team back in the game, but he has now thrown for over 3,000 yards with 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Raiders here because they are at home.

BENGALS @ Chargers – Andy Dalton has led this team in surprising fashion with a new high-powered offense. The Defense is coming along for these Bengals, after playing poorly in the first half of the season. Philip Rivers and Norv Turner can’t turn this season around, or finish it any sooner. If they lose this game or the Broncos win the Chargers are basically eliminated from playoff contention because one of the teams they are chasing would be the one who beats them today. Norv Turner is finished in San Diego, finally.

Steelers @ RAVENS – No Ben, no win for the Steelers. The Defense has been doing anything and everything to stay in games, but when you are on the field for as long and as much as this defense is, you are bound to lose. The offense turned the ball over eight times last week and that never bodes well. Ray Rice converted a 4th and 29 last week on a check down pass, and that speaks more for the Chargers season than anything. Ravens win this one because Charlie Batch is no Ben.

True Story

True Story

Eagles @ COWBOYS – On Nick Foles first drive against the Cowboys a few weeks ago, he hit Jeremy Maclin on a bomb. Since then it’s been forgettable for Foles. He let Bryce Brown do the work last week against the Carolina Panthers, but he will have to make some throws against a much better Cowboys defense this week. Tony Romo tried his hardest to bring the Cowboys back from dead on Thanksgiving against the Redskins. With DeMarco Murray expected back, Jason Garrett gets a capable back in his backfield. Tony Romo’s job becomes a little easier now as long as DeMarco can stay healthy.

GIANTS @ Redskins – The Giants are road warriors. RG3 is a beast. This will be a good Monday Night matchup with two divisional foes who each need this win. The Redskins need it to stay alive in the playoff race because the Wild Card is closing quickly in this tough NFC, but the Giants need this win to pad their lead as their schedule becomes harder over the next three weeks with the Saints, the Falcons and the Ravens looming. The Giants looked like the Champs last week against a 38-10 thrashing of the Packers and RG3 didn’t look like a rookie against the Cowboys in Dallas on Thanksgiving. Giants in a squeaker here.

siren

 

UPSET ALERT – I am putting the Giants, the Panthers ,the Bears, and the Colts on Upset Alert. The Giants lost both games last year to the lowly Redskins, but their better offensively this year. The Panthers are playing a defeated team that was just struck by tragedy and it’s always to play a team with that kind of emotion. The Colts are just not the same playing away from home. The Bears offensive line is still horrendous and the Seahawks defense is still very physical.

tom-hanks-in-cast-away

 

SURVIVOR PICK – Patriots (If Picked already: Texans, Cowboys and Ravens).

Midseason Awards: We’re Halfway There Edition

Here we stand at Week 9, the midpoint of the 2012-2013 NFL season. Let’s change things up this week and give out mid-season awards, while we also look ahead to what the second half of the season may have have in store for us.

Mid-season MVP

Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons

Matty Ice agrees with this assessment!

The man is at the helm of the last remaining undefeated team in the NFL, and one of the key reasons this team looks poised to make a deep run in the playoffs. He doesn’t have the most passing yards at the midway point (8th with 2018), but he is tied for 3rd place with 17 passing touchdowns. Matty Ice is what makes the Falcons go. They are 24th in the league in rushing yards per game with 95, making Ryan’s performance week in and week out that much more essential to the Falcons success. The MVP award is his to lose.

Honorable Mentions: Eli Maning, QB, New York Giants; Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos; J.J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans

Comeback Player of the Year

Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos

This may very well be the easiest award to predict of the season. As long as Peyton is playing, and at his usual high level, this award is his unanimously. Through 7 games, Peyton is 1st in passer rating (109.0), 5th in passing yards (2,113), and tied with Matt Ryan for 3rd in passing touchdowns (17).

Honorable Mentions: Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings; Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

Offensive Rookie of the Year

Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins

This is the second easiest award to predict this season. This is not Andrew Luck’s award to win back; it is Griffin’s to lose. Two weeks ago, RGIII was in the top 5 in passer rating, and currently he sits at number 7 (97.3). He has 14 total touchdowns on the season, 6 of which have come on the ground. That puts him 2nd in the league only to Texans running back Arian Foster, who has 9. What is also noteworthy is that he is ranked 17th in rushing yards with 476. Currently, he is ahead of Maurice Jones-Drew, Steven Jackson, Darren McFadden, and Matt Forte.

Honorable Mentions: Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts; Doug Martin, RB Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Greg Zuerlein, PK, St. Louis Rams

Defensive Rookie of the Year

Chandler Jones, DE, New England Patriots

Entering the team’s bye week, Jones has 33 tackles, 6 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles. There is only one defensive end in the entire league who is ahead of Jones in tackles and that is Muhammad Wilkerson of the New York Jets with 36. Jones’ 6 sacks have him in a 4-way tie for 12th.

Honorable Mention: Casey Hayward, Cornerback, Green Bay Packers

Offensive Player of the Year

Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans

Foster leads both wide receivers and running backs in touchdowns with 9, and he is 11th in scoring. This is of note because the 10 players in front of him are place kickers. He is 5th in rushing yards with 659, and the biggest stat of them all, he has 0 fumbles halfway through the season. When Foster is healthy, like he is now, he is one of the best players in the National Football League. On most teams, the rushing attack is used to set up a team’s aerial game, but not in Houston. Quarterback Matt Schaub goes to the air to set up the team’s run game. There are very few teams in the NFL who have the personnel to do this week in and week out.

Honorable Mentions: Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots; Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

Defensive Player of the Year

J.J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans

J.J. Swatt, as he is commonly being referred to, is wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks this season. Watt leads the league in both sacks and passes deflected with 9.5 and 10 respectively. With linebacker Brian Cushing out for the season, Watt has turned his game up a few notches, while also being the leader of one of the league’s best defenses this season.

Honorable Mentions: Tim Jennings, CB, Chicago Bears; Clay Matthews, LB, Green Bay Packers

If Foster and Watt were to win both the offensive and defensive player awards respectively, it would be the first time the award went to teammates since the 2003 NFL season when running back Jamal Lewis and MLB Ray Lewis did it. It would be the 2nd time in the history of the awards as well. 

Coach of The Year

Joe Philbin, Miami Dolphins

Raise your hand if you thought that at the halfway point of the season, the Miami Dolphins would be in the playoffs if the season ended today? :waits: :crickets: Didn’t think so! Everyone, including myself, laughed when the Dolphins cut Chad Johnson prior to the start of the season, as if they were such a great team they could afford to do such a thing. Well, here they stand at 4-3, 1 win away from tying the Patriots for a piece of the AFC East.

Let’s give credit where it’s due. Philbin has this team playing amazing defensively, run wise at least. Coming into Week 9, the Dolphins are ranked 3rd in opposing rush yards per game at 82. They aren’t blowing out teams (aside from last week’s 30-9 victory over the Jets), but are gritting games out for four quarters, thus hanging in there long enough for kicker Doug Carpenter to kick them to a W.

Honorable Mentions: Mike Smith, Atlanta Falcons; Lovie Smith, Chicago Bears

-Jimmy Lips

5 Things We Learned: Suggestions Are Welcome Edition

1) The AFC belongs to the Houston Texans. The Texans embarrassed their competition on Sunday, in the form of the Baltimore Ravens by hanging a 40-spot on them. The Texans are in a class of their own. There are only two other teams in the AFC that may be able to give Houston a run for its money and they are the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos. Thankfully for Houston, they face the Patriots in a couple of weeks, and we will get to see a (hopeful) preview of the AFC Championship Game.

2) Cam Newton equals Vince Young. Both men enjoyed great success on the field during their college football days. Both saw themselves go very high in the draft. But as we are all witnessing, neither of them knows how to deal with losing a few games.
Cam’s post-game interview had “I’m about to lose my mind if we win again,” all over it. The fact is, the guy is not ‘The Guy.’

He is used to being coddled, and now that he is being asked to step up and be a leader, he is having a difficult time playing a different role. Cam couldn’t lead me to the water at a beach, let alone lead his teammates in a game for 60 minutes.
3) Just give Robert Griffin, III the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award now! Is this even up for debate? Nope, didn’t think so. The guy is putting his team in a position to win week in and week out with very average wideouts. Had it not been for the subpar coverage of cornerback DeAngelo Hall on Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, RG3 would have come in the house of the defending champs and shown up Mr. 4th Quarter himself, Eli Manning. If the Redskins get a themselves a good wide receiver, who can stay healthy (Yes, I’m talking to you Garcon), they will have a great offense for years to come.
4) No one wants to play vs. the Chicago Bears defense right now. And you can’t blame them! That defense is making quarterbacks around the league fearful to snap the ball on long plays, knowing that the fast pass-rush is headed their way. Over their last 4 games, the Bears have held their opponent your scoring 3 times. This defense looks eerily similar to a 2006 Bears group that was able to carry the franchise all the way to a 2006 Bears group that was able to carry the franchise all the way to a super bowl trip. Stay tuned…

5) You can confidently pick up the quarterback playing vs. New Orleans, and the runningback facing Buffalo each week and be confident in them going off! The Saints rank 30th in net passing yards per game, while the Bills are dead last on the NFL in rushing yards per game. The rankings speak for themselves. Feel comfortable acquiring each of these position players vs. these two teams going forward.

#BookIt
-Cam Newton will be asking for even more suggestions after the Chicago Bears are done with him.
-If Michael Vick has another 3 turnover game, he’ll be benched.
-The Falcons will NOT be undefeated after Sunday.

This week’s recipient of The McKayla Is Not Impressed Award goes to the human suggestion box, Cam Newton. No one feels sorry for you. Not because you are making millions of dollars playing a recreational sport, but because you lose like a 5-year-old in a game of Red Light, Green Light. You put on that sulky Jay Cutler face and expect people to feel sorry for you. Keep your chip up and learn to lose like a man, instead of whining to the media that you are running out of solutions. Here’s a suggestion, learn to hit your wide-open receivers in the red zone.

Week 7: Average now Acceptable

Where’s Patches O’Houlihan when we need him?

Eleven teams currently sit at 3-3 in the NFL, and only two are better than that in the AFC. Take it in for a second, there’s never been a more average year. Last week I went 10-4 again and this week should only produce strong results as I try to continue this roll.

THURSDAY

Seahawks @ 49ERS – I’ll preach it again, it’s just becoming repetitive now, this is a letdown game. Great teams don’t have these, but a scrappy and average team like the Seahawks do. Tom “Terrific” couldn’t seal the deal on them last week and they were able to pull out what seemed to be another miracle win. The Niners were punched in the face by the Giants and will be looking to take some shots themselves.

SUNDAY

Redskins @ GIANTS – The Redskins offense looks great, but the defense is banged up. RG3 looks like the real deal and he can most certainly fly. Their receiving options are nothing to write home about when Pierre Garcon is hurt. The Giants are coming off a statement win in San Francisco, which snapped Eli Manning’s streak of 24 straight games with over 200 passing yards. Last year the Redskins had the Giants number and the Giants always play down to their opponents, especially at home. I believe the Giants will win because it is a must win in a division match-up if they lose they fall to 0-3 in the division.

Titans @ BILLS – How did this Titans team beat the Steelers? Beats me. The Steelers’ defense has been awful this year and Shaun Suisham missed the game winning field goal near the end of the game. Matt Hasselbeck is going to be under pressure this Sunday from a Bills’ defense that may be starting to turn the corner. Ryan Fitzpatrick simply cannot turn the ball over, he’s got a two-headed monster in the backfield now and should just rely on them.

Browns @ COLTS – Big win, Browns! Bad loss, Colts! Andrew Luck is poised to take down a worse defense than he just faced. The only problem is the weapons on the Browns overshadow those of the Colts, but guess who the home team is? Andrew Luck had a bad, BAD, game and many don’t expect to see consecutive ones of those too often and who better to keep that from happening against?

PACKERS @ Rams – The Packers just stomped out the Texans, in Houston. Rodgers showed why he was the MVP last year by tossing six touchdowns and no interceptions against one of the best defenses in the NFL . How bout a little Championship belt? The Rams played an ugly game in which they were heartbroken by the Miami Dolphins. This team has been feisty all year under Coach Fisher’s control. Don’t expect a hangover from the Pack.

The Doublecheck!

Cardinals @ VIKINGS – The Cardinals are finally coming back down to earth. They have no running game and their defense is solid, but not enough to carry them past their offensive woes. The Vikings still sit in second in the NFC North. This team ran into Hurricane Robert, who ran all over them like they were the football field, but I expect a bounce back game here against a falling Cardinals team.

SAINTS @ Buccaneers – A bye week is a nice gift after your first win during what has already been a long season. This team needs to fix its defense, and what better way than to get the leader of the defense back from injury. We will have to see how big of an impact Jonathan Vilma has in his first game of his dramatic 2012 season. The Bucs looked great last week against the Chiefs, but after all it was the Chiefs. The Bucs have not left Tampa in three weeks now, nice life. This match-up provided two great games last season, I expect no less this weekend.

COWBOYS @ Panthers – The Cowboys have to win this game, otherwise they will start to challenge the Saints for the biggest story this season, and don’t expect Jerry Jones to remain quiet. Cam Newton is defining “Sophomore Slump” right now and runs into a good Cowboys defense. The Panthers, I don’t even know. There’s so much talent on this team, but they simply don’t look like a team is the biggest problem. Cam is trying to force his throws and the defense needs to step up against a week Dallas offensive line.

Ravens @ TEXANS – The Ravens took so many hits last week in the win against the Cowboys: Injuries to Ray Lewis, Ladarius Webb and Haloti Ngata. Now they have to rush Terrell Suggs less than six months removed from an Achilles tear.  Now the weight of the team actually drops onto the shoulders of Joe Flacco. The Texans were shellacked by the Packers at home. They’ve had some time to digest it now and stay home and you better believe they’ll be ready to play the Ravens without their leader (don’t the Texans know how this feels) and their best cornerback.

Jaguars @ RAIDERS – These Raiders seem close to being able to compete in the AFC West. They went to the wire with the undefeated Falcons and played great defense the whole game against a high-powered offense. Carson Palmer is turning the ball over less, and they need more production out of Darren McFadden. The Jaguars don’t look good. Gabbert is definitely progressing, but not much. Maurice Jones-Drew is one of the best running backs in the NFL and proves it weekly, but Gabbert has no protection and gets scared when it falls on him. They also don’t have much of a defense.

Jets @ PATRIOTS – The Jets had a great win. Sanchez threw for less than 90 yards, but their was a Shonn Greene sighting. Don’t expect the same this week. Sanchez will have to throw the ball much more. The Patriots are not a happy bunch right now. A very tough and heartbreaking loss in which Tom Brady was “owned” by Richard Sherman. Expect a lot of scoring from the New Englanders.

Steelers @ BENGALS – This is the toss-up game for me. The Steelers have looked plain crappy. The defense is the worst part and as usual their offensive line can’t stay healthy and Big Ben doesn’t have a lot of time in the pocket. Rashard Mendenhall is hurt again. The Bengals offense has looked great as I said last week, but last week Brandon Weeden tore up the defense. This will be a physical game as it always is, but I will take the home team.

Lions @ BEARS – The Lions were able to pull off an upset against the Eagles with some last minute and overtime heroics. The Lions were a great team last year, but do not seem to be half that team last year. If they are going to win, Stafford will have to make the throws he made last year be mistake free against a Bears defense that takes advantage of any mistakes. The Bears have looked like a complete team, mostly on defense. Cutler, of course, has been under fire for his turnovers, but that’s Jay being Jay. This will be a great Monday Night game.

UPSET ALERT – I am putting the Giants (because of what they are capable of each year) and the Bears on upset alert. Division games are always played harder than the rest of the games, because they actually do mean more.

SURVIVOR PICK – This week I like the Patriots over the Jets as my lock. (If used already: Packers and Cowboys). 

5 Things We Learned: The Highly Debatable Edition

When we reflect back on the season, Week 6 will be one of the most talked about and remembered. We learned an awful lot.

1) The New York Giants love when the world picks against them. The G-Men went into this game as slight underdogs in Vegas, but were hearing all week by football experts that they were not going to beat San Francisco. Needless to say, they went in there and stomped them out 26-3. The pass-rush looked like its former self; the same guys who continually put (Matt) Ryan, Rodgers, (Alex) Smith, and Brady on their butts last season en route to the franchise’s 4th Super Bowl win.

Alex Smith looked uncomfortable in the pocket all game, and that’s a position where the Giants defense thrives. Coming into the game, Smith had only thrown 1 interception on the season. He left Sunday afternoon’s game with a season total of 4.

When the Giants get front-four pressure like they did on Sunday, they are a difficult team to move the ball on. They force you to speed up your reads, and that internal clock for a quarterback to get rid of the ball reaches it’s limit much faster than he would like.

Keep in mind that Eli had a very quiet day as he ended his streak of 24 consecutive games with at least 200-yards thrown. The ground game showed up for a second week in a row as well. And when Ahmad Bradshaw rushes for over 100 yards, the Giants don’t lose.

As fictional coach Gordon Bombay would say, “That wasn’t a game, that was a statement!”

2) The Patriots’ cockiness is annoying. If you watched the game as a Patriots fan, you have every right to be especially upset by this loss because it was a very winnable game. I do understand that Seattle is a good team, with a very elite defense, but the Patriots handed the game over. The Patriots offense is an enigma. You truly never know which one of their offensive personalities is going to show up.

On the one hand, you have this Patriots offense that can move the ball very efficiently with 5-10 yard routes and draw plays, all the way into the end zone with ease. Then, you have their arrogant offense which swears they can run any ole play at any given time and it will magically work for them. This is what fans saw during the last two drives of the 4th quarter. It looked like offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels had already declared victory, and started picking plays out of a hat.

The Patriots didn’t lose that game because they were offensively inept, they lost because their offense became arrogant with a lead that was anything but insurmountable.

Hats off to their defense though, who have been keeping them in every game so far (especially defensive lineman Chandler Jones).

3) The Atlanta Falcons are the last undefeated team left in the NFL…but they look beatable. 4 out of the Falcons 6 wins have been by a combined 18 points.

On Sunday, they were able to pull out a late fourth quarter win, despite Matt Ryan throwing 3 interceptions in the first half vs. the Raiders. The Raiders are one of the worst teams in terms of getting sacks and turnovers, so I’m certain their defensive scheme will be used as a blueprint for remaining opponents. They aren’t overpowering teams, but doing just enough offensively to secure the W and move on to the next game.

4) The Baltimore defenders are dropping like flies…or in this case birds. MLB Ray Lewis is potentially out for the season with a torn triceps, though the team won’t rule out a late season return. Corner back Lardarius Webb is also out for the season with a torn acl, and safety Ed Reed told a local Baltimore radio station that he has been playing with a torn labrum. But have no fear Ravens’ fans, outside linebacker and the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs is back on the practice field.

The long and short of that previous paragraph is that the Ravens will now have to rely on Joe Flacco more than ever. His game-managing quarterback style will no longer life them to wins this season, because he will not have that tremendous defense to fall back on. The question is: Can Joe Flacco be the elite quarterback he has been telling everyone that he is?

5) Aaron Rodgers had Aaron Rodgers on his fantasy team. Every now and again, someone in the NFL goes off and has a monstrous game out of the blue. Brian Hartline had one for the wide receivers, Jamaal Charles for the running backs, and that only left one offensive position to go, quarterback. Aaron Rodgers was ‘the guy’ on Sunday Night Football.

Now, it’s arguable that he didn’t need six touchdowns to win his team the game, but he was out there trying to make a statement. As Coach Reilly in The Mighty Ducks said, “It’s not worth winning, if you can’t win big!”

The Packers are not going down this season without a fight in them. They sense the weakness in their division, and understand that despite their slow start, they could still win it by multiple games.

Rodgers joined a special group of players that night, as one of only four quarterbacks to throw for over 330 yards, 6 passing touchdowns, and no interceptions in NFL history. The last person to accomplish this feat was Tom Brady, and he did it twice.

#BookIt
-The Giants are primed to go on a run, and have the schedule to do so.

-The Ravens aren’t winning the AFC North division anymore.

-Brady is due for one of THOSE GAMES vs. the Jets this weekend (you know what I’m talking about).

-The fight for USC quarterback Matt Barkley will come down to two teams who don’t need him: Jacksonville and Cleveland.

-CJ2K is going to get his first touchdown this Sunday! (Football gods help him if he can’t score against that horrid Bills defense)

The McKayla is Not Impressed Award for Week 6 goes to Eagles Management for firing Defensive Coordinator Juan Castillo, following the Eagles defense blowing a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter vs. the Detroit Lions.

Why am I not impressed? Because it was a bailout move. Why not fire the offensive coordinator who continues to let Vick have the ball in his hands each and every play? The Eagles have a top-3 running back in McCoy, and yet they vastly underutilize him.

Juan Castillo is out of a job for his guys blowing another fourth quarter lead, meanwhile, Steve Spagnuolo is coordinating the worst defense in the NFL right now in New Orleans, and his job seems in tact. He doesn’t appear to be on the hot seat whatsoever.

Meanwhile, in New England, Josh McDaniels is standing there giving off the impression that he asks Madden for his conservative play-calling advice, and his job security feels just fine too.

This all leads me to believe that the this is part 1 of 3-step process:
Step 1: Fire the defensive coordinator to buy your offense more time to get things rolling.
Step 2: Release Michael Vick at the end of the season because he will no longer ‘fit’ into the plan that the franchise has going forward.
Step 3: Fire Andy Reid because heaven knows this has been long overdue.